Beauty on the Subway

On January 12th, 2007, in the middle of a Washington D.C. Metro Station, a violinist opened his case on the ground, threw a couple dollars in, and started to play. For forty-five rush-hour minutes, he played six classical pieces.

Thousands of people passed him by. Only a handful actually stopped to listen and fewer than that paid for his “symphony”. Had they known who he was and what was going on, they might’ve given more attention. Have a look and listen…

He was not a mere street-musician looking to cash in on some well-played music notes. Joshua Bell was participating in a Washington Post study to see what reaction people would have to true beauty in an unexpected form.

Joshua Bell was the featured violinist on the Angels and Demons Soundtrack as well as the The Red Violin Concerto. A few days prior to this, he sold out a theatre in Boston’s Symphony Hall where tickets started at $100 a piece.

To rub salt in the wounds of the passersby, the violin he played on was reportedly worth 3.5 million dollars.

I think this has a message for everyone who’s ever said to their child, “Stop splashing in the tub, it makes a mess!” or “We don’t have time to stop for ice cream.” or “No, you can’t go smell those flowers.” Beauty and love are all around…in many different forms. If we don’t have the time to stop and listen to beautiful music played by a famous violinist, what else are we missing in the world? Seriously, how much time would it take out of your day to sit and listen to a man play his heart out in a subway?

An even more telling question would be…when you first watched the video on my blog, did you skim through it? Did you watch it part-way then stop? Did you watch it at all or did you first need to know how good he was before you gave him a few minutes of your time?

Hmmm…I’d be interested to know.

Check out his website for album and tour dates.


2 thoughts on “Beauty on the Subway

  1. Yeah Joshua Bell! I was so excited to read this as I've followed him for years, & have quite a lot of his music on cd, computer, & the MP3 player. It's always good to see -'ahem'- "normal" classical musicians. And amazing that he participated in the project. Yet, sadly, as I am well versed in the eccentricites & quirks of humanity, not surprising how little response he got. But it's not important that he got so little response. No, it really isn't. It's the ones who did SEE, did HEAR him. They took that with them all day. It made a spot, albeit a small one, but important spot in them that they'll take with them always. Especially if they hear about the project, & realize who & what they saw. Just another scene to show us the little things in life are what are important, & make up a happy life.And so here's kudos to The Post, & to Joshua Bell, for trying something differnt. And heres to the people who did stop, & listen, & drop money in the case.And here's to hoping he does another song with Josh Groban. I don't know how they could top 'Mi Mancherai', but if any two musicians could, it would be them.

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